I was at a seminar the other day with a number of underwriters and fraud managers.  They were from different sized companies across the bridging industry, but they had one thing in common – they were all over forty.  When we were discussing the biggest risks facing the industry, a common concern was that there are not enough new people entering the industry.

This cry has often been heard regarding mortgage brokers, numbers for whom are reputedly down to about 12,000 now as opposed to more than 30,000 before the financial crisis, but it seems that the issue is widespread.

What it leaves us with is a merry-go-round of qualified staff moving from one lender to another.  There must surely come a day however when there is just not enough staff to go round.  What the industry needs to do is to attract more new entrants.

I have heard that the need for qualifications and the volume of new regulatory changes are blamed for low numbers joining the industry, but I don’t think that the younger generation are affected by these things.  I also don’t think that anyone joining the industry needs to have achieved a high level of exam qualifications, what is needed is practical training.  Possibly what is required is an apprenticeship or internship type scheme.  The older (and wiser) generation needs to pass on the lessons that experience has taught them.

Negative press about the mortgage industry in national newspapers also may put young people off. Without new entrants, the risk of losing good staff gets higher and wages are constantly pushed up.

What is needed is for every sizeable firm to look to providing coaching and on the job training in order to increase the pool of bright young people in the industry and ensure its survival.  If we do not do this, despite growing demand for both long and short term mortgages; there will not be enough people to deal with the enquiries and market growth will be stunted.

A version of this article was published by Mortgage Solutions on 22.06.16